5 Breast Cancer Risk Factors

5 Most Common Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Most women having cancer in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. This type of cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the U.S. after lung cancer. Every woman wants to know cancer risk factors so as to try to change them and empower themselves and make sure their breast cancer risks is incredibly low. Some of the most common risk factors are listed below.

5 Breast Cancer Risk Factors


Age is a common risk factor, though you cannot change it since everyone is growing older. Just as with many diseases, as you get old, your risk of breast cancer goes up. Research has shown that about one out of eight invasive breast cancers develop in women who are less than 45. And two-thirds of invasive breast cancers develop in women 55 years and more.

The aging process remains the biggest risk factor for cancer. This is so because the longer people live, the opportunities for genetic damage in their bodies increase. Furthermore, our bodies become less effective at repairing genetic damage as we age.


Alcohol increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer and the levels of estrogen. Alcoholic beverage can also increase breast cancer by destroying DNA in body cells. Women who take three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer than those that do not drink at all. For each additional drink a woman takes per day, researchers provide that the risk of breast cancer goes up by about 10 percent.

Alcoholic drinks can make breast cancer hereditary. This type of breast cancer is caused by abnormal genes that are passed from parents to their biological children. Genes are particles that are contained in chromosomes and are made of DNA, an acid that contains the instruction for building proteins. Proteins control the functions and structure of all body cells.

Abnormalities in your DNA can make them provide the wrong set of instructions. And this can lead to faulty function or faulty cell growth. If there is this kind of error in one person, this same mistake will most likely recur in all the cells that contain that gene.


Obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index over 25 are at greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, especially after menopause. This condition can also cause breast cancer to come back in some women.

Overweight cause a higher risk because the fat in the body of an affected person makes a lot of estrogen, and this chemical can create room for hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer cells to develop and grow.

The connection between breast cancer and obesity is still complicated, and other factors affect it. The location of the extra weight matters a lot. If this fact is around your belly, it may increase the risk more than if it is around your hips or thighs.

Shift Work

The effect of shift work on breast cancer has been received interest from lay media since 2007. This is the time a panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that it could be a risk factor. This declaration was based on some evidence from animal studies and limited human studies.

Two recent studies have also suggested that shift work increases the risk of breast cancer by approximately 50 percent in night workers and approximately 70 percent in flight personnel.


There can be a link between heavy second-hand smoke exposure and this disease in postmenopausal women. Besides, it can increase complication such as damage to the lungs from radiation, difficulty in breathing after surgery, and higher risk blood lot when under treatment.

While research is still on to discover more risk factors or even remove some in this list, it is important to eat a healthy diet always, exercise regularly, and avoid risky behaviors such as smoking.